Mountain Parks Foundation has again been invited to be the featured nonprofit at Discretion Brewing’s “Love Monday” event
on Monday, December 19th. We have an opportunity to showcase our organization and provide information to the public about our mission and ways to support State
Parks. Also, Discretion Brewing will donate 20% of beer sales that day back to Mountain Parks!
So grab a pint and support your mountain parks!
2703 41st Avenue
This month, MPF hosted a tour for MAH's Researchers Anonymous group at Big Basin's Nature Lodge Museum. It was a fabulous opportunity for these local scientists and researchers to view the current
exhibits and learn about some of the ground-breaking natural studies conducted right here in the park. This group got an all-inclusive presentation from very own Executive Director, Brenda Holmes,
along with Susan Blake, State Park Interpreter, and Scott Pedan, Big Basin History Project Head. Scott also took these fabulous photos.
In case you haven't had an opportunity to visit the museum, now's your chance to explore it in this self-guided tour. Located right behind the Nature Store, you'll be enlightened to all the wild
wonders and mysteries of California's oldest state park.
If you a member of a group and would like to visit this hidden treasure at Big Basin, contact us to schedule your very own tour! Learn more, and sign up here!
Redwood trees are the tallest (300 feet and more) – as well as the oldest (2,000 years and more) – living things on the planet, and are a constant companion on a road trip near the California coast,
thriving in the damp and foggy conditions that prevail through much of the year.
There are umpteen parks with the name ‘redwood’ in them dotted from California up to Oregon, and all offer the chance to get up close to the magnificent trees in dense forests that are as moody as
they are beautiful.
Cowell Redwoods State Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains is one such location, and we combined a stroll around its gentle Redwood Grove Trail with a
ride on the narrow-gauge steam railway at Roaring
Camp Railroads. The family-friendly tourist train, complete with good ol’ boy conductor-cum-commentator, takes a winding route into the mountains pulled along – at least on our visit – by
‘Dixie’, a 102-year-old steam engine originally used on the Smokey Mountain Railroad.
The 75-minute round-trip is just about right, and allows time at the top (‘Bear Mountain’) to explore the forest and take a few snaps of the steaming engine – though you’ll have to wait your turn as
everyone wants the same picture.
It was much the same when we continued on to the Municipal Wharf at Santa Cruz, where tourist paparazzi clambered for the best images of seals basking in the sun next to the jetty. The area is a
great place for a stroll, including the lively Boardwalk amusement
park, which is the oldest on the west coast. It’s suitably retro – even the new rides have been made to look old – and the various food (anyone for deep friend Twinkies?) and sideshow stalls made for
great visual entertainment in the best traditions of Blackpool promenade.
Our next and last stop after Santa Cruz saw us returning to our starting point of San Francisco, which I deliberately omitted at the start of the blog because I knew we’d be coming back to see some
The fantastic city – voted the best city in the US by Condé Nast Traveler magazine for 16 years in a row – is a fabulous place to visit, and is home to a range of iconic sights familiar to millions.
We took them all in – from the fog-covered Golden Gate Bridge to cable cars clanging up steep streets of townhouses, colourful Chinatown (the largest in the US), to the historic island prison of
Alcatraz. We had clam chowder at Fisherman’s Wharf and took in the sights of Union Square, the Mission District, North Beach, Sausalito and more.
There’s so much to see in the city but the good news is that it’s really easy to navigate and get around. But realistically not in the motorhome (even our little Euro
Tourer) - leave it at the campsite (San
Francisco RV Resort is one of the nearest and ideally located for public transport) and ride the subway, bus, ferry or cable car. We used all of
them, and they provided not only a means of transportation but a great chance to see the city from a variety of angles. We chose an additional vantage point too, splashing out for an aerial tour
Francisco Helicopters, which was an undoubted highlight of our entire trip. The views were incredible and gave a brilliant overview – in every respect – of the city’s landscapes (from coast to
downtown to bay), neighbourhoods, attractions and sights. We even flew UNDER the Golden Gate Bridge. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Sadly it rained heavily on our last day, so we ditched plans to cycle across the Golden Gate Bridge in favour of a visit to the California
Academy of Sciences, a stunning natural history museum in Golden Gate Park. The eco-friendly building is home to a range of exhibits, plants and animals, and its main attractions include an
aquarium, planetarium and four-storey rainforest. We found it as entertaining as it was educational – which I guess is the purpose (porpoise?) – and especially enjoyed the penguins’ feeding time.
Our own feeding time included ice-cream at the world-famous Ghirardelli’s, hot dogs during a San Francisco Giants baseball game at AT&T Park right on the bay, burgers at In ‘n’ Out Burger – a
brilliant fast food chain and (largely) Californian institution definitely not to be missed – and drank local beer in bars frequented by Jack Kerouac and other beat generation writers. One barman
looked like Jerry Garcia from the Grateful Dead, which only added to the whole experience.
At this point I should come clean about one aspect of our trip - we had help in San Francisco, in the form of two great friends who not only advised us where to go and what to see but on a couple of
days actually took us there. Getting the locals’ take on the city added even more to our experience, and for that I’d like to dedicate this last blog to Scott and Mihaela – I hope we’ll get to show
you our part of the world again soon.
Thanks to anyone who has read and enjoyed these blogs, which have been a great way to help record a great trip. You’ll also be able to read more about our trip in Camping & Caravanning magazine
later this year.
More information from Apollo
Motorhome Holidays and
Worldwide Motorhoming Holidays